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ANED explains reasons for meter shortfalls as DisCo explains NMMP procedures

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Power company staff installing Prepaid meter

The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) has explained that the inability of meter manufacturing companies to produce the commodity in large quantities is responsible for the slow pace of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).

Executive Director, ANED, Sunday Oduntan, however, assured Nigerians that every single household would be metered, and warned citizens to desist from cutting corners not to fall victim to fraudulent elements in the sector.

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Oduntan said many of the components used in producing the meters were imported and until Ajaokuta steel starts working 100 per cent, a lot more work needs to be done.

“We have meter-manufacturing companies in Nigeria who are doing all they could to produce these meters but the components that are used to manufacture these meters, not all of them are produced in Nigeria, and that explains the issue of scarcity, insufficiency.

“For instance, in a three-phase meter, I am aware that there are seven components that are imported. Nigeria is yet to become a full manufacturing or producing nation, until Ajaokuta starts working 100 percent, we will need to import a lot of things in this country. For that reason, the meter manufacturing companies who are empowered to ensure the delivery of the NMMP are not able to give us five million meters. For instance, it cannot manufacture 100,000 meters every week. That is our reality, it is important you know all these so that you will understand the reason for the slow pace in getting metered.

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“Meters are not sold on the shelf. Meters are programmed, so if your neighbour’s meter is being installed and he is not around and you need a meter, you cannot be given that particular meter because the meter has been programmed for that neighbor.

“NMMP is meant to ensure that everyone in the country is metered, we are involved as DisCos but it is not the DisCos that are in charge of it. The policy belongs to the FG. The regulator is our master; it is what they ask us to do that we will do. If they send only 200 meters to Abeokuta this week, we can only install 200, once the 200 are installed we will request more and until more are available we cannot do anything about it. The numbers of houses to be metered are more than the meters that are available.”

Meanwhile, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) has stated that it was giving priority to customers who are getting more supply of electricity under the NMMP.

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IBEDC, who debunked the claim that the meters under the NMMP were free, said that it was a loan to DisCos, hence, the need to channel the meters to those who will ultimately benefit from it and enable speedy recovery of the fund.

IBEDC’s Regional Head, Ogun State, Dr Ademola Adewumi, spoke at a public sensitisation programme on the ongoing National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) held in Abeokuta and monitored by The Guardian on Zoom.

According to him, the deficit of customers that require meters from the residential and commercial side is in excess of one million customers and at the moment, the first batch of 104,000 meters was being distributed across its franchise.

Dr. Adewunmi said over 14,000 meters have been installed in Ogun state, while the rollout is still ongoing and more areas would be covered.

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He said: “Initially when the scheme was announced, they (federal government) said it was free but in actual fact to us at DisCos it is not free because we have to actually pay for it.

“As much as the recovery of the fund has to come from our collection we have to ensure that where we channel those meters to are those who will benefit and we can recover as much as possible so that we can request for the next batch.

“We are all aware that we have categorized our feeders into bands based on Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) regulation. Our priority has been given for now to Band A and B customers, this is not to say that some of our customers who are on Band C-D will not benefit but we have to give priority first to those who are on Band A and B.”

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He added that the metering of Nigerians is a win-win for both the DisCos and consumers, urging consumers not to reject metering.

“The benefit of the NMMP is for everybody what it does is that it gives a level playing ground for all. For instance, in the course of metering, we started discovering some of the customers who were not on our network. We hope that the programme becomes successful because both parties will benefit from it.”

He said that the firm had continued to address the infrastructure deficit by investing huge resources on the feeders and other facilities, so that power supply could get to the disadvantaged areas.
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